Monmouth Poll: Most Virginia Parents Support School Mask Mandates

Monmouth University conducted a poll with Virginia voters with the following results….

School masks

Two-thirds of Virginia voters, including parents of school-age children, support the state’s school mask mandate and many support Covid vaccinations for age-eligible children.

Approval of University of Virginia’s decision to disenroll unvaccinated students

A majority (53%) of registered voters approve of the University of Virginia’s decision to disenroll students who refused to report whether they got a Covid vaccine or did not apply for an exemption. Another 43% disapprove.

Job rating for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

Gov. Ralph Northam gets solid marks for his handling of the pandemic, but his overall job rating is somewhat lower.

Northam’s overall job rating stands at 48% approve and 42% disapprove, but he gets better marks on the pandemic specifically. Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) Virginia voters say Northam has done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak while just 27% say he has done a bad job.

Virginia government’s handling of Covid

Looking at efforts to control the pandemic in Virginia in general, 46% of voters say state government measures to slow the virus have been appropriate, while 27% say they have not gone far enough and 24% say these measures have gone too far. A clear majority (64%) support reinstituting general face mask and social distancing guidelines in the commonwealth, while 32% are opposed.

Support for reinstating these measures comes from majorities of Democrats (89%) and independents (60%), but only 37% of Republicans.

Concern about family members becoming seriously ill

Four in ten (40%) voters are very concerned about a family member becoming seriously ill from Covid. Still, significantly more (42%) say Virginia has been doing better than other states in handling the pandemic than say it has done worse (11%). Another 42% say it has been doing about the same.

Vax vs. Anti-Vax

Currently, 77% of Virginia voters report receiving at least one Covid vaccine dose. Another 1% plan to get it as soon as possible and 6% are still waiting for other people to get vaccinated and see how it goes. Just over 1 in 10 voters (12%) say they will never get the vaccine if they can avoid it.

Republicans (21%) and independents (14%) are more likely than Democrats (2%) to fall into the anti-vax group.  Regionally, the highest anti-vax sentiment is in the western part of the commonwealth (22%).

Should schools provide in-person, remote, or mix of both?

Virginia voters are divided on whether the commonwealth’s schools should be fully open for in-person instruction this year (43%) or should offer a mix of in-person and remote instruction (41%).

However, just 12% say they should be fully remote. Among parents of children under 18 years old, 49% say schools should be fully in person, 38% prefer a hybrid model, and 12% want fully remote instruction.

Face masks in schools

About two-thirds of registered voters (67%) – and parents specifically (64%) – support the requirement that students, teachers, and staff in Virginia schools wear face masks this year.

Vaccine mandates

In terms of a possible vaccine mandate, a majority of voters (58%) would approve of requiring children age 12 and older to be vaccinated in order to attend school in person. Just over half (52%) support the same requirement for school children under 12 years old if a vaccine is authorized for that age group in the coming months.

Parents of school-age children are slightly less supportive – 49% approve of requiring vaccines for the middle to high school-age group and 43% would support that requirement for younger children – but there is still a measurable amount of support for vaccine mandates for school attendance.

“If you watch the news coverage you may think that the vast majority of Virginia parents want no masks and no remote learning options, when that is clearly not the case. These are just the most vocal folks. In fact, nearly half of all parents would support a vaccine mandate for school children,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 24 to 29, 2021 with 802 Virginia registered voters. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ. Read the entire poll here.

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